Depression was like a thick heavy blanket that sometimes felt like a cozy warm nest and I felt so safe there that I was afraid to let it go, even though the weight of the blanket was killing me; Just one more day I would say.. “just one more day in this dark cocoon and tomorrow I will start to live, but for just one more day, it feels safer to hide.” (Darlene Ouimet)
That was all about the illusion of safe. I did not overcome depression by dealing with the depression itself because depression did not stand alone in my life. Facing the depression isn’t exactly what led me out of the darkness; it was realizing where the depression came from and why it had become one of my coping methods that led me to overcoming it. Just like my dissociative identity disorder, for me depression started when I was very young. I realize today that all coping methods have a common reason for existing. There is something “back there” that isn’t resolved. We have all these coping methods because the mind is such an amazing and powerful thing. They are literally the way we deal, how we cope and how we survive.
There was a comment on my post “Mother Daughter Relationship Nightmares” that got me thinking about how all my coping methods and my recovery discoveries work together and how I came to this place in my life. The following question was posted by Mark Alan Effinger; Mark asked “Is there a direct path through this &^%$ to a better place? Or is it so individual, that no formulaic method will do?” Although Mark is referring to the serious and graphic comments about sexual abuse, I have come to realize that the answer is the same for this question as it is for all questions about emotional healing and recovery.
To recap, I sought help from a therapist when I was heading into my third serious depression in five years, the previous two serious depressions lasted two years each, so I hadn’t had much of a break off the medication this time. I was going to leave my husband and three young children, believing that they would be better off without me. I got frustrated when the therapist wanted to talk about my childhood. I didn’t want to talk about the past, I was having trouble NOW. I needed help for my life in the present, not for my life in the past. I really didn’t see any connection from the past to the present. But he was insistent and I was losing money arguing with him, so I gave in. We talked about the past. In fact we started with my first trauma memory.
I began to see how my depressions were very much related to my childhood trauma and that depression wound its way through my entire life and intertwined with other coping methods, addictions, dissociative identity disorder, and that in reality all of these coping methods were an amazing survival system that I had built, and I started building it when I was very young. But now, it had turned on me. Because I began to see the patterns, I became willing to keep digging up that rotten foundation. The whole key for me was uncovering and discovering how my belief system about myself and the world, had formed. As I replaced the lies with the truth, the coping methods fell away; because I didn’t need them anymore.
The process isn’t simple and it isn’t a quick fix. The good news is that for me it wasn’t a band-aid either and the resulting freedom from all that hell on earth has been permanent. I have the occasional down day, but they are rare. I don’t dissociate anymore, I no longer have multiple personalities, and I don’t fall into the depths of darkness; depression is no longer something I worry about.
When I began speaking in metal health seminars, and working at the director of client relations in a counseling firm, I realized others were also having the same astounding results as I was having ~ finding the way out of the darkness and into the light; finding freedom from depression, freedom from addictions, gaining a new understanding of coping methods; where they came from and why we needed them and how it was possible to uncover the mystery of how to ditch them.
In writing this blog, Emerging from Broken, I am attempting to deliver a message of hope; step by step, mixed in with story by story and tiny little snapshots of how I uncovered the layers of lies on top of other lies, all which built my belief system which falsely defined who I was, my purpose or lack of it, my value and lack of it. I write snapshots of how I found the truth about why I believed all that stuff about myself. Not knowing that I didn’t know the truth about myself prior to my recovery, I wasn’t searching for it. I was searching for freedom and recovery from broken, but not in the right places. How is one to know where to look? So I am sharing where and how I found it.
So to answer Mark’s question; I think there is a formulaic method that works for everyone. The trauma events (or mistreatment) and the belief system belong to the individual, but the way out, the pathway to freedom and wholeness is not so unique.
If this method worked for me, and for others, then why can’t it work for everyone? Who can say that it won’t work? Who can say that there is too much damage? Who really knows that? I believe that this is the way and so I write to inspire others.
As always, please feel free to express yourself in any way that you would like by adding your comments;
One Snapshot at a time ~ Darlene Ouimet